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The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

PaulAyris30 May 2019

Increased student support for UCL Library Services

UCL takes student feedback very seriously. We have a range of student surveys, and participate in national surveys, to measure the level of happiness students feel with their UCL experience.

The Student Experience Survey was conducted between 1 March and 10 April 2019 and included all penultimate year undergraduate students. 5,185 students were invited to complete the survey, and 20% responded (n=1037).

Questions are arranged under 9 main headings, one of which is Learning Resources. This general category was the best scoring category out of all 9, with 83% of respondents saying they were satisfied, an increase of 3% over 2018 and an impressive increase of 7% over 2017.

The most important question concerning library resources and services is this one – the library resources (e.g. books, online services and learning spaces) have supported my learning well:

Question 2019 2018 Difference
The library resources (e.g. books, online services and learning spaces) have supported my learning well. 85% 80% +5

This is a great result, showing an increase of 5%. Indeed the result is so good that the score to this question made it the highest scoring question in the whole of the survey. One of the reasons for the increase is, of course, the addition of the Student Centre to the library footprint, with its 1,000 new learning spaces. The Centre had just opened when the survey was held and, already, its impact is being felt in rising levels of student satisfaction.

Many congratulations to all members of UCL Library Services – all of whom have contributed to the reputation of our services and the impact they make on the student body. It’s a great performance and bodes well for the future.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)

Wellbeing Champions update: UCL LaSS Library

Sharon AJames16 May 2019

Welcome to the first in a series of blogs that UCL Library Wellbeing Champions will be writing about the work, ideas and events that they have been involved in or created. This update highlights some of the initiatives Jon Siah and I have taken at the UCL Language and Speech Science Library since attending training in early 2018. This involved completing the one day Mental Health First Aid for HE course followed a few weeks later by a day of Health & Wellbeing Champion training. Since then, along with other Library Wellbeing Champions, we have also attended the UCL Wellbeing course Suicide: Spotting the Signs.

Therapy dog Indiana Bones qualifying as a Wellbeing Champion

As Wellbeing Champions we help UCL staff and students by using our listening skills and signposting relevant services or resources. We also regularly take part in Wellbeing meetings and events. For example, Jon and I helped facilitate two ‘Life, Work, Balance’ sessions at the Library Staff Conference in 2018 and I also created posters and distributed resources at the Marketplace Stall during the lunch period.

Jean and Yinka keeping cool at the 2018 Library Conference on Wellbeing

In the weeks beforehand I liaised with Library Finance to acquire funding for fans and then sourced and ordered them for the Marketplace Stall. These were distributed to conference attendees to help with their wellbeing over the course of a long and very hot day.

We also regularly update the LaSS Facebook and Twitter accounts with wellbeing information and have emailed Liblist with resources such as the Sleepio and Silvercloud apps. For LaSS staff, we held a fun Wellbeing Crafternoon at the end of last year using a craft pack ordered from Mind. At this Christmas-themed event, the team were able to relax and catch up with one another while creating handmade decorations for the library.

Photo from the Halloween Wellbeing walk

Another successful event was the Halloween Wellbeing walk arranged by Jon which started at Brunswick Square and ended at Gray’s Inn Walks with a large attendance of nearly 40 people from all over UCL.

Wellbeing Corner at LaSS 

Most recently we have developed a Wellbeing Corner in the LaSS reading room for library users. This features a noticeboard covered in information such as how to manage stress and exams and the contact details of the UCL Student Psychological and Counselling Services and Student Support and Wellbeing. In holders underneath we have placed helpful leaflets, a laminate with advice on how to cope with panic attacks, copies of a local walking map, and coloured pencils and home-made colouring books.

Wellbeing Corner also has a selection of newly purchased self-help books that include guidance on how to deal with anxiety, low self-esteem, OCD, eating disorders, depression and insomnia. We sourced these from a reading list originally created by Teaching & Learning Services for the School of Pharmacy’s Wellbeing section: http://readinglists.ucl.ac.uk/lists/B89CADDC-EEF1-9C7C-2991-E1BEA2F44BC0.html  As well as these books some additional ones were bought and we are hoping this new collection will be helpful for students and staff. Please feel free to come over and have a look at Wellbeing Corner and borrow the books.

At the moment LaSS Library is involved in the Wellbeing Steps Challenge despite our team being called (accurately in my case!) ‘On Our LaSS Legs’. If you’re taking part I hope you’re enjoying it and a big thank you to Laurie McNamee for doing the organising.

For those interested in reading more about the UCL Wellbeing Champion role please go to: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/human-resources/health-wellbeing/wellbeingucl/get-involved/become-wellbeing-champion

Customer Service Excellence Accreditation

Peter JDennison8 May 2019

Over the past 18 months work has been going on behind the scenes in preparation for our application for the Customer Service Excellence Standard.  Customer Service Excellence (CSE) is designed to operate on three distinct levels:

1. As a driver of continuous improvement.
2. As a skills development tool.
3. As an independent validation of achievement.
CSE Standard: Cabinet Office, 2010

 

 

The Standard is awarded by the Cabinet Office and consists of 57 separate criteria which we have to demonstrate that we meet. This is done by the submission of documentary evidence to an Assessor who will review the evidence as part of the Accreditation process. The other part of the assessment will be a two-day visit by the Assessor on Tuesday 4 and Wednesday 5 June. The visit will consist of a combination of meetings with Library staff, students, and other UCL departments who work with us as well as observation and presentations by staff.

A Pre-Assessment meeting was held with the Assessor on 13 March which was really helpful in identifying areas which required further work and additional documentation. Our formal submission was sent to the Assessor on 8 May and we will find out in the next couple of weeks which areas our Assessor will want to focus on when he visits.

I will be working with Kate Cheney to organise the two-day visit by the Assessor. The first day will focus on our larger sites and will include a visit to the Student Centre. The second day will focus on biomedical sites. We will be given an informal indication by the Assessor at the end of the second day as to how we have performed. Thank you to all colleagues who have contributed to the process so far and to those who will be meeting the Assessor during his visit.

New menu for public library website

RobertDrinkall30 April 2019

You may have spotted recently that the public library website has a new left hand menu.

This is because ISD Digital Presence has redesigned the menu for its Drupal content management system. The library website uses Drupal, and so has adopted the new menu automatically.

The main difference between the old and new menus, and the reasons for the change, is explained here by Digital Presence:

The previous scheme of displaying parent pages, sibling pages (pages at the same level) and children pages (sub-pages) in one long list on the left menu created confusion and very poor usability. The menu view on mobile was especially problematic.

The new menu displays children pages at the top level with any related sub-pages underneath. On mobile, a breadcrumb trail now appears below the corporate masthead.

To see a visual illustration of how the new menu changes as you navigate through the opening hours pages (on a PC), please see the image below.

When the new menu was introduced, the Web Team had to make various adjustments to make it display correctly for our site. We think it’s configured in the right way now, but if you do spot anything around it which doesn’t look right, please let us know via lib-websupport@ucl.ac.uk

Image showing new Drupal menu and sub menus for public library website

Example of new Drupal menu and sub menus on public library website

 

 

Collette E MLawrence24 April 2019

Building Team blog – Summer Projects 2019

If you have any queries regarding projects please contact Jay james.woodhouse@ucl.ac.uk

The Library has secured funding for four projects from the Central Estates Strategy Board (CESB) for this summer. These are:

Science Library – To create a new accessible toilet to be installed on the ground floor. This will include with a hoist and changing facilities. To be undertaken as soon as possible at the start of the summer, the project is likely to take fourteen weeks.

Graduate Hub, South Wing – Refurbish the main room and kitchenette. This area will become more study focused with individual study spaces, rather than sofas. The Kitchenette and Main room will be redecorated, new floor covering and all new furniture. In the computer room the chairs will be replaced. The duration of this project will be ten weeks.

Senate House Hub – This will repurpose the Senate House hub into a Post Graduate Research (PGR) only space. The front half of the space will be for PGR, while the rear area will be for funded Centre for Doctorial Training (CDT). Some of the existing furniture will be relocated within the space, with some new furniture and an additional card controlled door. The duration of this project will be ten weeks.

Institute of Education – The entrance will be refurbished with new turnstiles and a combined Library/ISD service desk, similar to the Science Library Learning Lab Help point installed last year. Smart Shelves will be installed, this is an alternative to an auto sorter. The duration of the project six weeks towards the end of the summer.

Library design and European collaboration

Benjamin G MMeunier10 April 2019

Earlier this year, I was honoured to be invited to join the LIBER Architecture Group (LAG), as the UK representative. I am replacing Karen Latimer, former Librarian of Queen’s University Belfast and an expert in library design and heritage architecture. The group furthers the exchange of experience between librarians and architects throughout Europe and attempts to raise the level of awareness of new projects and trends. This is done through biennial seminars, and via a database of Library Buildings in Europe documenting new buildings, renovations, refurbishments and extensions. The LIBER Architecture Group brings librarians together with building design professionals, and helps to focus concepts and planning processes and to share best practice in the sector. It operates as part of LIBER’s Strategic Direction on Research Infrastructure.

As the UK’s future relationship with the European Union continues to be under question, UCL is committed to maintaining close partnerships with European Higher Education and research organisations. The work we do in Library Services, in many areas across the service, involves work with European partners and I am pleased to be able to play a part in developing links with colleagues in the area of European library architecture.

On Monday, as part of the LIBER Architecture Group’s bi-annual meeting, I visited the National Library of Luxembourg, which is due to open in September 2019. The building is very nearly complete, and the move of collections is due in the coming weeks. It is a monumental building, and much of the construction sites I visited or saw in Luxembourg were on a large scale, reflecting the country’s ambitious plans to develop its knowledge economy.

The view inside the brand new National Library, opening in September

Façade of the National Library of Luxembourg

When it opens, the library will provide 470 study spaces, open to anyone over the age of 14. The library building was designed to meet best practice in sustainable construction, using geothermal energy and thermal mass to maintain stable environmental conditions. Storage space at the back of the building provides shelving for 300,000 items. Where collections are on open access, each shelf is fitted with an LED light strip, creating an almost theatrical feel but also practical way of ensuring that users can see clearly even when browsing the lowest shelves in a building where there is little ceiling lights (for environmental reasons and also to minimise the risk of fire).

Facilities within the library include a music room and family study room, where parents may undertake their research accompanied by young children. The library also has parking spaces for 2 “Bicherbus”, the national library bus, which travels across the country to support users in Luxembourg.

View of Luxembourg Learning Centre, at the centre of Luxembourg University’s new campus on the former steelworks

The Luxembourg Learning Centre is based within an old coal warehouse, at the foot of two huge steelwork chimneys. It is at the heart of the new Science City in Belval, about half an hour from the centre of Luxembourg City. During my visit, I learned that Luxembourg’s economy was severely affected by the loss of the steel industry in the 1970s and had to transform its economy into the financial hub it is today. However, the country is keen to diversify its economy and avoid relying entirely on the finance sector, so it is fast developing its science and innovation sector.

The Belval site is being redeveloped with EUR 1 billion already invested and a further EUR 900 million due to be injected by the government to transform this former industrial plant into a university campus associated with a wider cultural and entrepreneurial district. The industrial past is everywhere to be seen, with the plant and warehouse buildings now listed as monuments.

The Learning Centre is a high-tech library which supports around 7,000 students at the university. With 1,000 study spaces and built at a cost of around EUR 70 million, it is on a scale fit to support further growth of the university. Collections are in English, French and German, reflecting the multilingual nature of the country. Signposts on the campus are in French but all the signage in the library is in English, a decision the Library took to ensure that the majority of users could easily navigate the building. There is a welcome point and self-service RFID equipment, provided by Bibliotheca, at the entrance. The library operates with a relatively small team (24 staff in total), and their Customer Service team work closely with students on various UX projects. The library closes at night and is also closed at weekends, and they are looking at extending these hours in response to demand. For more information, including a video of the impressive building, you can visit the website of the Luxembourg Learning Centre.

The next LIBER Architecture Group seminar will be held in April 2020 and hosted at the Luxembourg Learning Centre. Further details will be circulated later this year.

Futuristic furniture and hi-tech equipment feature throughout the Learning Centre, such as these built-in tablets to provide access to national newspapers

The Learning Centre’s glass walls are wrapped around the original structure of the coal warehouse which fed the steelworks

Student Choice Awards – celebrating library staff

RozzEvans10 April 2019

The UCL Student Choice Awards are a way for students to thank an amazing member of staff, and let them know that their hard work makes a difference. All UCL students are invited to nominate members of staff who have, in some way, made their experience at UCL a particularly good one. They are judged by students themselves and so are especially meaningful. There are several categories including Amazing Support Staff and it is very gratifying to see that four members of UCL Library Services staff were nominated in this category. Congratulations to Nazlin Bhimani, Peter Field, Vanessa Freedman and Debora Marletta. For more information about the awards see: http://studentsunionucl.org/make-change/make-your-voice-heard/student-choice-awards/student-choice-awards-2019-all-nominees

New bookable study spaces service launches on 7th January

RobertDrinkall7 January 2019

We’re pleased to announce that a new service, which enables UCL students to book study spaces in a number of library-managed locations, launches today, 7th January.

This service can be used by current UCL students (including those with multi-affiliations), and customer services staff are able to make and cancel bookings on behalf of UCL users where applicable. Login is via UCL userid and password.

For further details about the system, please see the Customer Services section of LibNet, and the new service’s help page.

BME Update

Andy GPow4 October 2018

As you may have noticed, the distribution of BME articles to lib-list has slowed down considerably in recent months, largely due to a reduction of entries made to the racematters address list.
This may be due to the fact that our primary contributor is spending a great deal of time in preparing the latest UCL Race Equality Charter (REC) application. The UCL EDI office now reports to the Provost who is keen for UCL to again attain the Bronze award and the submission date is getting closer, due at the end of the year.

The REC aims to ‘provide a framework through which institutions are encouraged to identify and reflect on institutional and cultural barriers impacting upon staff and students. Member institutions develop initiatives and solutions for action, and can apply for a Bronze or Silver award, depending on their level of progress’.

Amongst the UCL initiatives to tackle BME staff and student inequalities:

•  UCL are set to publish the latest EDI strategy which is a 10 year plan which is expected to be centred around inclusion for staff and students;

•  The Centre for the study of Racism is expected to be established soon with a masters degree expected to be an eventual offering;

•  Activities around Liberating the Curriculum is on-going;

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/teaching-learning/research-based-education/liberating-curriculum

•  The efforts to reduce the Student attainment gap (3% at UCL) is gaining momentum with Deans declaring their pledge to the cause.

https://www.ucl.ac.uk/human-resources/news/2018/jul/deans-pledge-further-race-equality-ucl

•  Inclusive Advocacy – A new sponsorship programme has been introduced to ensure high-performing, under-represented groups reach their full potential at UCL.

However, despite the initiatives, a lot of work is still needed to redress the inequality balance. One of our BME medical students and recent former BME student officer wrote a very strong article back in December outlining some serious issues faced by our students:

“Last year when I was studying medicine, I attended a fair held to pick courses for 3rd year and was left disgusted when a student reported one of the tutors saying “Don’t let any Blacks or Hijab-wearing people over here to sign up. I have so many more instances that have come up and receive emails on this every other week.”

With the Library due to roll out a new strategy in the coming months, a BME list of potential ideas/objectives has been submitted to the Library EDI committee. It would be good if the library can make a contribution towards the BME initiatives.

Should you like to share your thoughts and ideas on BME matters please do get in touch.
Thank you to all who contacted me following the many BME articles sent last year, your support is very much appreciated.

Fellow members of the Library EDI committee should also be available should you like to discuss matters on diversity.

“Until we get equality in education, we won’t have an equal society”

The Pro-Vice-Provost’s View

PaulAyris14 August 2018

Library Strategy 2015-18: how did we do?

The Library Strategy 2015-18 formally ends in August 2018. In it, we set ourselves 94 goals to be delivered by the end of the Strategy period. How did we perform against our objectives? Our aim was to complete 90% of the Actions during the Strategy period. Here is an analysis of what we actually achieved.

There were 6 Key Performance Areas (KPA):

  1. User experience
  2. Staff, equality and diversity
  3. Finance, management information & value for money
  4. Systems and processes
  5. Sustainable estate
  6. Communication, Open Access & outreach

The results were as follows:

KPA Done Green Amber Red Total
1 16 3 0 0 19
2 17 2 1 0 20
3 14 1 0 0 15
4 12 4 1 0 17
5 8 0 1 1 10
6 12 0 1 0 13
Total 79 10 4 1 94

Done = Action performed

Green = Action not completed in Strategy period, but fully expected to be completed in the coming months

Amber = Difficulties meant that the desired Action could not be fully completed

Red = Difficulties meant that Action was impossible to complete

Taking the Done and Green Actions together, this means that 95% of the Action lines in the Implementation Plans for the 6 KPAs have been delivered.

There are many, many fine achievements to record. Speaking personally, let me highlight just one which has been particularly successful.

Sustainable Estate Action 5:

Objective:

We will continue to seek opportunities to develop new learning spaces. Library will benchmark provision against international competition.

Result:

£1.4M additional funding agreed for learning space projects in summer 2018. In total, an additional 534 study spaces were opened during 2016-17 across UCL Library Services, mostly completed in summer 2017. Ratio of students:seat will be better than the Russell Group average after the New Student Centre opens in early 2019.

The Library, Houghton Hall, Norfolk

This is a tremendous outcome. The 2018 NSS results for UCL were recently published. Q19 is: The library resources (e.g. books, online services and learning spaces) have supported my learning well. The level of satisfaction expressed by UCL students was 85%, up 2% on last year’s score. One of the reasons for this is undoubtedly the increase in learning space provision which the Library can offer. And we hope that this improvement will continue into 2019, when the New Student Centre opens in February with 1,000 new digitally-enabled learning spaces.

There are many narratives like this that can be constructed to illustrate the tremendous work that all members of Library staff have done to deliver the 2015-18 Strategy.  I have enjoyed attending departmental and team meetings, along with colleagues, to discuss strategic directions. The feedback and suggestions we have received are excellent and we will take note of them as the new Strategy is developed in detail. I thank you for your contribution and look forward to working with you all in the new Strategy period, once the new Library Strategy is signed off by Library Committee in the autumn term.

Paul Ayris

Pro-Vice-Provost (UCL Library Services)